HomeTurkeyTürkiye’s stray dog issue complicated but solvable: Animal psychologist

Türkiye’s stray dog issue complicated but solvable: Animal psychologist


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The downside of stray canine has been underneath the highlight in Türkiye for years as a result of current assaults on folks, though the nation is in any other case well-known for its love and respect for stray animals.

I mentioned this concern in Daily Sabah in a earlier article. I approached either side of the controversy and obtained opinions from stray animal associations, veterinarians and associations defending these affected by the stray canine downside. I additionally wrote an opinion article analyzing the injury brought on by the events who exaggerate the problem on social media and the polarization surrounding the subject.

It could be protected to say that this concern, which has not but been fully resolved, continues to be being debated in Türkiye. The truth that it’s the most complained about concern submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly Petition Commission, which examines the needs and complaints of residents to Parliament, is fairly telling in itself.

At the identical time, it’s clear that polarization nonetheless reigns supreme in Turkish society when info are thought-about. While some petitions comprise requests equivalent to gathering stray canine, neutering them and eradicating them from residential areas, there are additionally calls for such because the closure of an web platform established to attract consideration to the issues brought on by stray canine and the closure of an affiliation that allegedly “targets stray animals by misinforming the society.”

The concern once more got here to the forefront after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s current assertion: “We will implement the same practices in solving this issue as developed countries and Europe.”

With this assertion, the practices and authorized rules in Europe started to be mentioned, and other people, naturally, began to marvel if there was a profitable observe in Europe that may very well be carried out in Türkiye as nicely.

With the rules concerning stray animals in Europe persevering with to be examined by the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye Research Services Directorate and the problem remaining scorching, one in every of Türkiye’s few animal psychologists, Tamer Dodurka, gave an unique interview to Daily Sabah on the topic.

Stating that “unfortunately there is no gold standard for the solution,” Dodurka mentioned: “Management of the dog population varies from place to place, let alone from country to country. Socio-economic and cultural differences are very decisive in this regard. While the West’s relationship with animals is based on self-interest, our history is full of examples of compassion for animals. Their bloody history cannot be compared to our history. Our mythology is not about relationships of interest but about sharing life and nature with many different animal species and merging with them. These cultural codes in our people cannot be erased.”

“Great brutalities were committed against animals as well as humans during the rule of the Europeans, who were fed by the teachings of Aristotle, who argued that a powerful person had the right to do anything over primitive beings such as enslave humans or animals,” he added.

“For example, once upon a time, Black people were exhibited as slaves in a zoo in Belgium. It is no wonder that the mentality that treats people like this also approves the killing of animals,” mentioned Dodurka, emphasizing that the Turkish nation, which grew up with maxims equivalent to “Love the created for the creator’s sake” won’t permit such sins to be dedicated in opposition to people or animals, due to each its religion and cultural codes.

The ‘Hayırsızada’ incident

“The incident of the Hayırsızada and those who caused it are still cursed, and this incident is often mentioned as the shame of this country,” he added, referring to the exile wherein greater than 80,000 stray canine residing in Istanbul had been collectively despatched to Sivriada – which might later be renamed as “Hayırsızada” (“Wicked Island” in Turkish) – off the coast of Istanbul and deserted there in 1910.

Stating that the one distinction between nations is just not in human nature and that the sorts of free-roaming canine additionally range from nation to nation, Dodurka mentioned: “Almost no other European country has the same type of dogs bred in rural areas or produced and released into the wild as we do. For these and similar reasons, no country can be compared to another, and solution methods are not similar. The applications are already different from each other.”

“While in some European countries, dogs without owners are kept in kennels and eventually killed, this is prohibited in some countries, such as Germany. Again, the laws in Italy, Greece and Czechia do not allow the killing of stray animals,” he added.

Dodurka additional mentioned that President Erdoğan’s assertion that the practices in Europe shall be carried out ought to be understood as “we will use the same practices that are successful in Europe if they are suitable for our country,” and added: “Who would want something that is not suitable? As long as what is appropriate and what is not can be analyzed well.”

Stating that the nations which can be profitable on this regard in Europe are the nations that greatest implement animal safety legal guidelines, Dodurka mentioned: “On the contrary, in the newly joined countries, especially in Eastern European countries, the effectiveness of animal protection laws is weak and the rate of compliance with the law is insufficient. Problems are experienced more in these countries.”

Dodurka additionally underlined that if the Animal Protection Law No. 5199, which was enacted after President Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) got here to energy, and later revised, had been nicely carried out by establishments, they’d not have to search for European examples.

Stating that veterinary organizations are very sturdy in essentially the most profitable nations on this regard, equivalent to Germany, Dodurka mentioned: “In this way, the system of registration and identification of animals, which is the most important part of the solution to the problem, is also very strong. In this way, it is possible to monitor animals, prevent them from being abandoned or lost, and prevent unauthorized trade and reproduction.”

Dodurka additionally mentioned that some rules have proved profitable, equivalent to imposing severe fines on those that abandon their animals on the streets, those that let their animals wander and not using a leash, and people who don’t take the mandatory precautions, in addition to the banning of unlawful breeding of canine and the gross sales of puppies that aren’t registered with breeding associations, encouragement of sterilization of owned animals (since owned animals are one other supply of unregistered manufacturing), promotion of training of individuals on animal habits, encouragement of possession and group of sterilization campaigns.

Tugay Abukan, referred to as “forest angel”, performs along with his canine outdoors Istanbul, Türkiye, April 16, 2020. (AP Photo)

Emphasizing that sterilization campaigns are a particularly efficient resolution if carried out appropriately, Dodurka mentioned: “Greece was able to reduce the number of dogs on the streets to a very low level by organizing a large sterilization campaign with the participation of freelance veterinarians, with the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO). The name of this practice was mentioned in the literature as the ‘Athens Example.’”

Dodurka additional said that the observe of “neuter, vaccinate, leave it where you got it” is an accurate observe that has develop into an order of Law No. 5199 in step with the suggestions of the World Health Organization (WHO), however that it isn’t doable to get a profitable outcome when solely this observe is carried out. Other necessities of inhabitants administration are usually not carried out.

Every debate has at the least two sides

As you might need guessed, there are additionally opponents of this observe, Dodurka mentioned.

“We also have to say that this process has not been done outside a few provinces and districts. We should not be deceived by those who pretend to do this to avoid fines,” he added.

“In order to solve the problem, a strong and scientific population management mechanism with a budget and effective authority, which calculates the population dynamics well and produces different strategic plans for each region, implements the other requirements of population management and is in contact with nongovernmental organizations that know the practice of the job very well as well as scientific institutions, is needed.”

“It is essential to establish and strengthen the veterinary organization within the ministry,” Dodurka additionally mentioned.

Underlining that such a activity can’t be left to the initiative of native governments, Dodurka mentioned that the efforts of some municipalities that offered enhancements in their very own areas had been wasted as a result of the identical success couldn’t be achieved in different areas.

Stating that there is no such thing as a follow-up on duties and that fines are usually not imposed on those that don’t fulfill their duties, Dodurka argued that culling, a merciless technique, is just not a everlasting resolution.

“Culling, or rounding up the dogs and completely clearing the streets, only saved the day in our country where so many dogs proliferate in rural areas, did not provide a permanent solution, and resources were wasted. In some of our districts, where streets were previously emptied after massive culling, the streets were filled again within a few years. Complaints about the new dogs that have not socialized with humans have increased even more,” he added.

Rabies circumstances

Regarding the rabies circumstances related to stray animals, Dodurka mentioned: “Thanks to the calm animals on the streets that are accustomed to humans and whose feeding and vaccination follow-ups are carried out by volunteers, dogs that breed uncontrollably in the countryside that are not accustomed to humans, come into contact with wild animals and are unvaccinated are prevented from entering the city in groups.”

When requested whether or not there’s a severe scenario associated to stray canine in rabies circumstances, Dodurka pointed to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca’s remarks.

“Mr. Koca stated that there has been no increase in human rabies cases. Undoubtedly, even if a single citizen dies from rabies, this is very grave and very dramatic. Therefore, it is of great importance to reveal the source of the disease and combat it at its source,” he mentioned.

“Although dogs are the most important agent of human rabies, the fact that the disease is mostly concentrated in rural areas or rural areas of cities reveals the role of wild animals in causing dogs to contract this disease. As a result of the sequence analyses carried out to determine its geographical origins, the connections of the virus with neighboring countries were revealed and it is known that wild animal rabies is at the forefront, especially in our western neighbors,” he added.

“When wild animals such as wolves and foxes approach villages, they first encounter the village dogs. Dogs fighting to keep these animals out of the village can catch the disease and carry it to dogs in cities. In this way, the virus can reach humans. In other words, if dogs do not prevent them, such wild animals could directly attack people. Thus, we could witness more cases of rabies in humans,” Dodurka mentioned, including: “We cannot get away with placing all the blame on the dogs that live in the city and have been vaccinated.”

“Because dogs are not the main source of natural carriers of rabies. What we need to do is fight the disease at its source,” he mentioned.

“If wild rabies is fought correctly, the chain of transmission of rabies to urban dogs will be broken. Of course, this struggle is not easy due to the vastness of our borders. This is why we often raise the need for a strong veterinary organization. In this respect, it is of great importance to reorganize the existing organization and strengthen the organization by appointing new veterinarians.”

Dodurka as soon as once more emphasised that one of the crucial vital sources of canine residing freely in cities in Türkiye is uncontrolled breeding in rural areas, and warned, “If the breeding of these dogs cannot be prevented, all efforts made in the city will be wasted.”

“The process of collecting dogs and confining them to large areas will not serve a solution as it will lead to the streets being completely emptied,” mentioned Dodurka, including that this observe is dangerous each when it comes to animal welfare and animal well being.

Regarding the polarization on social media, Dodurka mentioned: “Unfortunately, as humans, we have come to a point where we cannot love each other. Even among some of our politicians who are supposed to be an example to society, hateful language prevails. Unfortunately, according to OECD data, we are one of the countries that stand out in the world in terms of unhappiness.”

“Unfortunately, the animals that live with us also suffer from this loveless and intolerant environment,” he added.

“There is no suffering like the one that animals are forced to go through because some people who see animals only as a commodity fail to understand the importance of animals in their relationship with humans,” he underlined.

Noting that not all segments of society have the identical perspective towards stray animals, Dodurka underlined that the dynamics of every neighborhood and even every road are totally different from one another when it comes to absorbing the canine inhabitants.

“Attack incidents are closely related to the absorption capacity of the street,” mentioned Dodurka, stating that residents of liberal districts equivalent to Beşiktaş and Kadıköy in Istanbul are extra tolerant of canine, so canine dwell extra comfortably there, apart from remoted incidents.

Pointing out that animals saved as pets often don’t trigger issues for folks, Dodurka mentioned: “If this dog is frightened, harmed or hurt by people for various reasons, the image of ‘friendly human’ changes in its mind. In short, the most important factor that determines dog behavior is human behavior and attitudes. In other words, what pushes the dog to be aggressive is actually human behavior itself. Genetic or congenital aggression is very rare.”

A canine that demonstrates “attacking” habits due to instincts of “fear or hunting or protecting itself or its territory” is just not identified as “aggressive,” Dodurka additionally emphasised.

“Although some dogs can be provoked to attack or engage in aggressive behavior in different ways, there are some criteria to diagnose a dog as ‘aggressive,’ and it is not possible for people who are unaware of this and are not experts to make this diagnosis.”

Dodurka mentioned that horrifying a relaxed canine modifications the canine’s perspective and habits.

“For example, we heard about cases where the father, who saw the child playing nicely with a dog, was terrified and shouted at the child, ‘Run away from there, you will get yourself bitten,’ and for this very reason, the child ran away in fear and was bitten.”

Stating that not everybody in society might be anticipated to strategy canine in the fitting means and that those that direct society are answerable for this, Dodurka mentioned: “In the media, pictures of untamed canine and exaggerated, typically unverified ‘canine assault’ news tales additional gasoline this concern in society. Dogs are even used to scare mischievous kids at some households.”

“At first, a child may feel a strong connection to animals, but when they are scared away, communication breaks down. Subsequently, the child might resort to either throwing objects at the animal or attempting to flee out of fear. It is a well-known fact that those who flee from dogs out of fear are the ones who typically suffer the most harm,” he added.

“Many individuals who don’t have the slightest concept about canine are unaware of the habits that pushes canine to assault.”

“That’s why people are being trained in this regard in many developed countries,” he mentioned.

Source: www.dailysabah.com

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